McHenry County Conservation District offers over 20 miles of horseback riding trails at four different sites located throughout the county. Trails may close due to wet conditions in the spring and fall or at any time due to unsafe conditions — call (815) 338-6223 to confirm trail status.
During Winter Months: In the event of a mild winter, the District will try to keep horse trails open for riding if: (1) Conditions allow (ie. dry, firm, no ice conditions on trails, parking lot, or at trail crossings; Note: parking lots will not be plowed.
(2) The forecast shows no winter weather system coming for a week. If a weather system will occur over a weekend or holiday – the trails will close the Friday before or the working day before the holiday and not reopen until the next working day – or when conditions allow.
Open/Closed signs will be posted on site, on this page and on the home page under Site Advisories. Call 815.338.6223 for current conditions. NOTE: When snowmobile trails are open at Glacial Park and Rush Creek, horse trails are closed.
Glacial Park, Ringwood — CLOSED (Last updated 12/16/13)
Trails within the park wind through prairies, past savannas and restored wetlands, then cross the recently re-meandered Nippersink Creek. Trailer parking and trail access is available at the Harts Road parking area (off Route 31 north of McHenry) or the Snowmobile/Equestrian trailer lot on Keystone Road (north of the District’s Keystone Landing). Restroom facilities available at the Harts Road parking area; a water hand pump is available at the Keystone Road trailer lot.
Hickory Grove Highlands, Cary—OPEN (Last updated12/5/13)
Lyons Prairie & Marsh—OPEN
The 4.75 mile trail begins and ends off Hickory Nut Grove Lane and travels the edges of the 400+ acres winding through woodlands. The trail crosses Hickory Nut Grove Road into the Lyons Prairie and Marsh nature preserve section where the trail loops and doubles back. Trailer parking, water and restrooms are available at Hickory Grove Highlands parking area.
Prairie Trail North (Ringwood to Wisconsin State Line)—CLOSED (Last updated 12/16/13)
This trail is a 7-mile converted railroad bed — straight and flat — shared with hikers and bicyclists during the summer and closed during the winter for snowmobile season; trails may close at any time due to unsafe conditions. A spur trail connects to the horseback trails within Glacial Park. The trail can be easily accessed from the Harts Road parking area (off Route 31 north of McHenry). Restroom facilities available at the Harts Road parking area.
Rush Creek, Harvard—Closed (Last updated 12/11/13)
Over five miles of easy, beautiful riding through woods, open prairie and across the creek. Trailer parking at the equestrian lot only. Hitching posts, water and restroom facilities are available near the parking area.
Leafy Spurge — dangerous for horses...
Leafy spurge is an invasive plant species that is toxic to animals and livestock. It produces a milky sap that can cause blistering of the mouth and throat if consumed. Although it is not widespread in our area, it can be seen from early May to October.